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Charles Pachter

 (born 1942)
Charles Pachter is active/lives in Ontario / Canada.  Charles Pachter is known for easel and mural painting, printmaking, sculpture, and teaching.

Charles Pachter

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Charles Pachter
Charles Pachter is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, illustrator, muralist, author and educator.  He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is still his home (1).

His graphic mediums are acrylic on canvas, silkscreen*, lithography*, woodcuts*, linocuts*, etching*, ink, mixed mediums and handmade small edition books.  He sculpts in granite and Corten Steel (2).  His subjects are nationalism, symbolism, patriotism, culture, humor, social commentary, politics, landscape (especially with barns), figures, still life, portraits, history and allegory.  His most famous images are of the Queen on a moose, Canadian flag paintings ("The Painted Flag"), and steel sculptures of moose.  The last two could be described as his trademark images in the same vein as Warhol's "Marylyn Monroe" or Jasper Johns' "American Flag".  His current styles are Pop Art* and Surrealism*; however, there are Expressionist* works from early in his career.  AskART has some excellent illustrations of his most well known images.

Quote:  "I have always been fascinated by what defines Canada ... Our history, writers, wildlife, symbols, and diversity." - Charles Pachter.

His formal education includes a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Toronto (1960 - 1964) studying under Ted Bieler (3); a Diplômé de l'ESPPPFE (4) from the Sorbonne, Paris (1962 - 1963); night school classes at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto (1961) studying printmaking under Frederick Hagan; and an MFA degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art*, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1964 - 1966) where he studied paper making, lithography, etching, painting and design under Laurence Barker (b.1930). (5)

His formal teaching career was brief; he was an Assistant Professor, Department of Fine Art, University of Calgary in 1969 and 1970, and he taught lithography to the Inuit at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, Cape Dorset, North West Territories in 1972.

Most of his teaching resume consists of guest lecturing at an extensive, and impressive, list of institutions of higher learning including the Ontario College of Art, Toronto (1974); the University of Victoria, B.C. (1981); the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1981); the Alberta College of Art, Calgary (1981); the University of Toronto (1986 , 1989, 1994, 1999); Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax (1987); Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto (1987); Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario (1995,1996); Concordia University, Montreal (1997) and University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C. (1997).  His curriculum vitae lists a total of 83 guest speaking engagements since 1966; other venues include museums, art galleries, clubs, government organizations, councils, symposiums and conferences.

Pachter's foreign travels include: France, Spain, Italy, Corsica (1962 - 1963); Mexico (1964); France and the Greek Islands (1968); Tokyo, Kyoto, Taiwan, Bangkok, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong (1985); the Caribbean island of Bequia (1985); the south of France (1990); Key West (1990); Budapest, Vienna, Prague (1999); and  India (2005).

Pollock Gallery, Toronto hosted his first solo exhibition in 1964.  Since then his work has been the subject of over 50 solo exhibitions in galleries across Canada, in Europe and in Japan.  The museum venues in Canada include the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario (1982); the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1984); the Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary (1986); and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (1994).

His group exhibitions include the Canadian Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers (1966); the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (1967); "Esler/Pachter" [with John Esler], National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1970); "Color Prints of the Americas", New Jersey State Museum (1970); "International Print Biennale", Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1972); "Collins/Pachter/Tinkl" [ with Bonita Collins (1939) and Viktor Tinkl (1937)], Art Gallery of Ontario (1977); "Post-Pop Realism, The Winnipeg Perspective", Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1982); "Sixth International Biennial of Humor and Satire in the Arts", Gabrovo, Bulgaria (1983); "Vestiges of Empire", Camden Centre, London, England (1984); "Living Impressions: Contemporary Canadian Graphics", Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario (1989); "The Simcoes and the Founding of Toronto", Art Gallery of Ontario, (1993); and the Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C. (1997). (6)

From July 18 to October 12, 2009, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), hosted the exhibition "Charles Pachter and Margaret Atwood: The Journals of Susanna Moodie", which included a collection of approximately thirty original prints with the accompanying poems from Atwood and Pachter's original livre d'artiste, produced in an edition of 120 in 1980 (see below and AskART book references for trade book details).

Pachter's works are in many private collections, and they are also in dozens of corporate and public collections.  According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* there are 60 of his works, in major Canadian museums.  They include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ontario), the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario) and Museum London (Ontario).  The Market Gallery, Toronto with 40 Pachter works has the largest collection.

Two examples of his Moose Silhouette sculptures are on the University of Toronto campus; and, his mural "Hockey Nights in Canada" can be seen in Toronto's College Subway Station.

Some examples of the numerous books and book covers he's illustrated are: The Edible Woman (1969) and Surfacing (1973) both  by Margaret Atwood; Wiggle to the Laundromat (1970), by Dennis Lee; The Queen on Moose Handbook (1985) by Paul Russell and Robert Jeffrey; The Illustrated History of Canada (1987), by Lester Orpen Dennys; A Passion for Identity (1987), edited by Eli Mandel and David Taras; "A Border Within" (1997), by Ian Angus; and Margaret Atwood, A Biography (1998), by Nathalie Cooke.

His handmade books, done in editions of between 10 and 20, printed on handmade paper, are usually co-authored with a poet, frequently, his lifelong friend and Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood (7).  Their titles are: The Circle Game (1964), with Margaret Atwood, edition of 15; Expeditions (1965), with Margaret Atwood, edition of 15; Kaleidoscopes: Baroque (1965), with Margaret Atwood, edition of 20; Talismans for Children (1965), with Margaret Atwood, edition of 10 ; Small Stones (1965), poems by Wook Kyung Choi, edition of 15; Morning Song (1965), edition of 15; For Turned is the Day, Book of Medieval Prayers (1965), edition of 18; Notebook Pages (1966), Poems by John Newlove, edition of 15; and Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein (1966), with Margaret Atwood, edition of 15.

His books include The Queen of Canada Colouring Book (1977); Charles Pachter: Canadian Painter (1992); The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1997), text by Margaret Atwood; M is for Moose (2008) and Canada Counts (2009). (8)

His honors and awards include the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France (2002) and an honorary doctorate from Brock University (1996).  While studying he received a Canada Council Student Bursary (1965), and in his final year was awarded a Cranbrook Academy Scholarship (1966).

In 1999, he received one of Canada's highest honors, appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada (CM).  The citation reads: "He has shared his passion for Canada, our history and our culture in numerous ways. A visual artist whose work is as provocative as it is innovative, he is known for his interpretations of our nation's symbols, including the Canadian flag. As an illustrator, he has collaborated on many award-winning books. He also shares his enthusiasm for Canadian history in his role as a popular speaker and lecturer." (9)



(1) He lived briefly in Montreal in 1967 and in Calgary in 1969 and 1970.

(2) Corten (or Cor-Ten) steel is the trademark name of a product developed in the 1930s by United States Steel for the fabrication of railcars.  Its chemical composition promotes the early formation of an adhering protective layer of rust when exposed to the elements.  The protective layer constantly develops and regenerates over time, reacting to the pollutants in the atmosphere.  Its unique look and naturally oxidizing finish (after 6 or 7 years it can look like bronze) make it especially desirable for many architectural projects and as a medium for outdoor sculpture.  Currently, Richard Serra is probably the most famous artist using it as a sculpture medium.  Sources:;; and "The State of the Art" (1987), by Arthur C. Danto; Prentice Hall Press (see AskART books).

(3) All artists, teachers, influences and associates mentioned in this biography and its footnotes, except co-authors and those with bracketed birth and death dates after their names, have their own pages in AskART.

(4) D'École Supérieure de Préparation et de Perfectionnement des Professeurs de Français à l'Étranger. Author's translation - Graduate School Preparation and Development of Teachers of French Abroad.

(5) The source for education, teaching and travel details is the artist's curriculum vitae at

(6) The source for exhibition details is the artist's curriculum vitae (see above) and catalogues on file (and online) in the archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

(7) Margaret Atwood is one of Canada's most famous and honored authors.  In addition to literary awards, her list of honors include Canada's highest - Companion of the Order of Canada (CC).  She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds 19 honorary degrees including ones from Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, and the Sorbonne.  Source: common knowledge and

(8) Sources for book details: Google Books and

(9) Source: The Governor General of Canada at

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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About  Charles Pachter

Born:  1942 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Known for:  easel and mural painting, printmaking, sculpture, and teaching